December 6, 2012

Our Voices can Count: How to Participate in Human Rights Day 2012.

“All have the right to be heard, we all have the right to be what we can be, to reach for the sky and touch the stars.”

~ Archbishop Desmond Tutu

A couple Saturdays ago, I was watching a documentary series on American history, which was pretty entertaining. While watching the reenactment of our country’s foundation via the writing of the Declaration of Independence, I felt a real sense of pride.

Our forefathers understood the importance of the individual voice and were  building a foundation where the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were celebrated and protected.

Now, some people exercise their voices and the pursuit of happiness everyday, and others don’t. Either way, regardless of which category you fall into, the important thing is they are your rights, and your choice. Yes, we can sometimes take these rights for granted, we’re American, we’re entitled to these rights, right?

But what about the people in other parts of the world? Shouldn’t they be entitled to these same rights?

Unfortunately, this is not the case. At least not yet. 

Just as we have our Declaration of Independence, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights exists to outline the rights of all of the human beings of the world; “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

The human family. I love that.

This declaration was created by representatives of all regions of the United Nations and December 10th, 1948, marks the date this Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Every year on this date, the Declaration of Human Rights is commemorated with the celebration of Human Rights Day.

This year’s theme “My Voice Counts,” highlights the right of everyone to participate in public life, to have our voices heard regarding policial affairs.

“Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives. Every person shall have the right to vote and be elected, and to have access to public service, as well as to free expression, assembly and association. We all should have a voice that counts in our societies. We should all have free, active and meaningful participation in both economic and political affairs.”

What better way to celebrate Human Rights Day (December 10th), then by exercising your right to have a voice?

If it’s been a while since you participated changing the world for the better, all you have to do is jump on the Google+ UN Hangout or Twitter (how 2012 of us!) to get the opportunity to interact with leading UN Officials and truly use your voice.

I can safely say, changing the world and participating in Global Affairs has never been so easy. Here are 3 ways to participate: 

  1. Ask Questions: From now until December 10th, send your quesitons using #AskRights and select questions will be answered by the High Commisioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, at the Human Rights Day Google+ Hangout.
  2. Share your thoughts: Have something to say about the right for all to participate in public life and political decision-making? Share your thoughts at #VoiceCount.
  3. Hang out: You can actually interact with with Navi Pillay on Human Rights Day, December 10th at 6:30 am (PST) via the UN Google+ Hangout.

Why participate?

We owe it to everyone who, because of their gender, class, current political system and many countless reasons, are still not afforded this right. Exercise your right for those who have spoken and have been actively persecuted. Exercise your right because you can. Exercise your right to honor those who cannot. At least not yet. 



Ed: Bryonie Wise


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